Let me just say that caperberries are not capers; so for all of you that were about to discard this recipe, not so fast! Same plant, completely opposite flavors! Both caperberries and capers are immature buds of the caperbush, which is derived from the plant, Capparis Spinosa, located throughout the Mediterranean. Capers are much smaller, with a round shape, salty kick and sometimes, crunch. Caperberries, on the other hand, are oblong, semi-green fruits about the size or slightly larger than a table grape with a sweet and tart punch of flavor.
I first stumbled upon caperberries when I was waiting tables at Quartino Ristorante in Chicago. At Q, they served a similar dish, but instead of chicken they used sea scallopsÂ that sat on a bed of escarole. The flavor of the scallops with the lemon sauce along with a nice spicy kick from red chilies and the bite of the caperberries made that dish my absolute favorite.
Though chicken breasts and scallops are different (theres no way around that), they both provide a hearty, protein base that compliments and doesn’t outshine the lemon and caperberry sauce. The addition of the caperberries are somewhat brilliant in this chicken dish. They are small and sometimes barely noticeable, but the medley of flavors together – lemon, butter, hints of white wine and black pepper sing harmoniously alongside the tart and acidic flavor of the caperberries. Though not sold in every neighborhood grocery store, you can find caperberries either online through amazon.com or at a local gourmet speciality shop or food store.
This recipe is simple and yet complex. If you’re looking to impress your dinner guests, look no further; it’s a twist on an old favorite! Thanks for the inspiration, Q!
Calories per serving: 470 per serving
Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min
4 split (2 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice(juice of 2 lemons)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
10 - 12 whole caperberries
1. Pat the chicken breasts dry and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoons butter over moderate - high heat, until hot but not smoking and brown the chicken in two batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned.
2. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and prepare the sauce. On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add the lemon juice, white wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix together and let simmer for a minute or two. Then, add the chicken broth and browned chicken breasts, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a clean platter.
3. Simmer the lemon butter sauce until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the caperberries and swirl to combine until butter is just incorporated. Spoon the sauce around the chicken breasts and enjoy.